Top five most iconic album covers of all time

Photo courtesy of // Here are the top five most recognizable album covers of the last few decades.

Many artists like to tell a story with the covers of their albums. They represent their own genre of music, and what is to come on the album. Here are some of the coolest album covers of all time!

  1. “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division (1979)

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This seemingly simple black-and-white cover actually depicts one of the first pulsars ever detected. A pulsar is a type of neuron star that emits radiation, and the lines on the cover are a visual representation of the waves of radiation picked up from a nearby one of these stars. The band members found this image in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy. Their producers were immediately on board with the idea of this enigmatic cover design for their first album.




4. “American Idiot” by Green Day (2004)


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The intense and impactful design presented on this cover is supposed to mimic Communist propaganda. Designed by Chris Bilheimer, it is certainly an artwork with a strong political message, just like the music it represents. The album ended up being an important comeback for the band after their 2000 album “Warning” had little success. “American Idiot” has both a cover and music that are an iconic part of rock culture.




3. “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd (1973)

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Anyone you ask will most likely recognize this image. It shows a triangular prism spreading white light into a rainbow. The simplistic design is featured on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other merchandise. It’s one of the most famous album covers out there. Hipgnosis, a three-person design team, first sketched the idea after they were inspired by the haywire nature of the album’s lyrics. Now, the cover art may actually be more well-known than the music itself.




2.”Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac

Mostly cream album cover with black-and-white image of tall, bearded gentleman holding the hand of blonde, cape-wearing woman. In the top right-hand corner, it is captioned "FLEETWOOD MAC" and "RUMOURS" below it.

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The two figures in the photograph are Stevie Nicks (lead singer, right) and Mick Fleetwood (drummer, left). The cover shows Stevie holding her hand out to Mick while a black cape sweeps out dramatically behind her. It is a deeply personal cover for a deeply personal album.

This is one of the best albums ever written in my opinion, because it is about a time during which the band members’ relationships with one other were falling apart. As the title suggests, vicious rumors had been spread about the things they’d done behind each other’s backs.

The band was doomed to break up. This album was their final chance, so they decided to write about the very heartbreak and hardship that was tearing them apart. The image in the picture, of Stevie barely holding on to Mick, perfectly represents the dire situation they were in during the writing of the music.


  1. “Abbey Road” by the Beatles

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No album cover is as recognizable as this one. The four Beatles members walking across that famed crosswalk has become truly iconic. There is even a constant live camera feed showing the spot where the picture was taken. “Beatles” fans, me included, have tried countless times to recreate the photo.

The man in the background of the image, standing on the sidewalk, has become famous. The real reason it’s the best album cover of all time, however, is because it subtly displays the distinct personalities of each band member while simultaneous representing their unity. The four figures walking in perfect step across an urban street will stay in our minds forever.

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